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First Ag - Little Creatures Pale Ale

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rob.n.hill@gmail.com

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Howdy all!

I just finished bottling my first AG, a Little Creatures Pale Ale clone.

Here's my notes from the session - I had a few problems on brew day, but nothing critical or that couldn't be worked around. Details below so that somebody else can potentially avoid them! Comments, hints/tips and advice very much welcome.

The beer's bottled, and I'm settling in for my 2-week wait, but I had a taste on bottling day - tastes great even warm and flat - huge hop flavours, lots of body, but quite young/green (this will probably change over the next few weeks). Still delicious, with no off flavours that I can detect - can't wait!

I've included the actual recipe below (there are several variants on the thread).


Background on equipment:
I have a 50L aluminium boil pot, electric stove, a 50L unmodified esky (mash tun), bucket-in-a-bucket lauter (tap in bottom bucket, screen to disperse sparge water across the top of the grain bed). The rest is pretty standard.

Batch Notes:
5.7k grain bill
Water/Grain ratio 2.8L/1Kg

Used 16L for the mash, prepared 24L for sparging
Strike Temp 74.4C
Mashed @ 66C (aimed for 67C). Temp @65C after 1 hour
Sparged @ 62C

26L pre-boil volume
Pre-boil gravity 1.036 @ 56C (=1.036 adjusted)

22L post-boil (lost 4L to evaporation)

Collected 18L (lost 4L to trub)
OG 1.056

Added 4L tap water to bring to 22L
OG 1.0505 adjusted (1.047 @30C)

Pitched Wyeast 1056 smack pack @approx 30C (yes, yes I know).
It was bubbling nicely after 6 hours (maybe sooner?) Temp 26C
Placed fermenter in tub of water with t-shirt & fan a few hours later.
Temp down to 22C next morning.


Brew-day Problems:
1. Brew day took far too much time. I didn't get to bed until 2am, and had started around 6pm. I had heard others say that they take around 4 hours end-to-end. Next time, start early in the morning.
2. Didn't have volumes and temps planned well enough prior. Do better next time (using above notes!!)
3. Hops not very accurately measured out. Get proper scales
4. Big problems getting/maintaining a rolling boil with 26L wort on electric stove - even with the pot spread over a big double-ring element and half of a second element. I had to transfer approx 8L to a second (smaller) pot and get that going at a nice rolling boil. Did the rest of my hop additions to that. Next time: Get a big-ass gas burner.
5. Forgot to aerate, but no problems with fermentation (yet). The additional 4L of tap water was 'aerated' by the tap aerator. This probably saved me.
6. It took a huge amount of time to get the water heated to the right temp. Major factor in overall time. See item #4.
7. Dough-balls form very easily when adding the grain to the mash tun. Next time stir better and add grain more slowly.
8. Cooling the wort still took quite a while, even though I'm using a copper-pipe chiller. Hence my pitching of yeast @30C. Might produce more diacetyl than the yeast can clear up in secondary fermentation. Having more time next time will help (somewhat - it's not always possible when the room temp and tapwater temp is >25C).
9. Couldn't do mash-out - didn't know how much boiling water it would take, didn't want to reduce my sparging water. Tried to heat some of the mash in a pot, but started getting some 'burning' smells - might have overdone the heat. Got the temp up a little bit then I gave up. Need to re-think how I'll do this - perhaps I could transfer back to the boil pot, heat using my upcoming gas burner and stir constantly. Food for thought.

Positive stuff:
1. Lautering went very well, grain bed perfect. Bucket-in-a-bucket worked very well. I did have to use a second large pot to collect the wort, then a bucket and finally transfer the sparge water to the mash tun in order to free up the boil pot. Next time I'll just transfer the sparge water to the mash tun straight away
2. No-rinse sanitiser much better than the other crap. Don't go back.

Fermentation note:
1. The Wyeast 1056 ideal fermentation temp is 15-22c. Gives citrus at cooler temps (15-19c). I cooled the fermenter by placing in water with a t-shirt around the fermenter to wick and evaporate the water. This is supposed to reduce the temp by 5-8c (below surrounding air temp) - I found that it stayed around 21-22C, while the ambient temp in the garage stayed at about 24-25C.


2/3/2012 Dry Hopping Day (after 12 days)
FG 1.008 (5.7%ABV)
Dry-hop - 20g chinook, 20g cascade added via french press.

10/3/2012 Bottling Day (after 20 days)
From the carbonation calc:
Vol CO2: 2.0
Temp: 22C
Vol: 21L (22 in fermenter, guessed I would lose 1)
Sugar Type: Sucrose (I used table sugar)
Result: 95.1g (I measured out approx 100g on shitty kitchen scales)

Bottled 21 Litres (lost 1 L to trub)
Washing those bottles still a pain in the ass, in fact the whole bottling process also took far longer than expected. I'll start looking into kegging when I get rich :)

Original Recipe:
----------------------------------------------------
http://www.aussiehomebrewer.com/forum/inde...39091&st=80

Recipe:

BeerSmith Recipe Printout - http://www.beersmith.com
Recipe: LFPA House Batch
Brewer: Argon
Asst Brewer:
Style: American Pale Ale
TYPE: All Grain
Taste: (35.0)

Recipe Specifications
--------------------------
Batch Size: 23.00 L
Boil Size: 29.95 L
Estimated OG: 1.053 SG
Estimated Color: 12.0 EBC
Estimated IBU: 47.8 IBU
Brewhouse Efficiency: 75.00 %
Boil Time: 60 Minutes

Ingredients:
------------
Amount Item Type % or IBU
4.00 kg Ale Malt (Barrett Burston) (6.0 EBC) Grain 70.18 %
1.10 kg Munich I Malt (Weyermann) (14.5 EBC) Grain 19.30 %
0.30 kg Carapils Malt (Weyermann) (4.0 EBC) Grain 5.26 %
0.30 kg Wheat Malt Pale (Weyermann) (4.0 EBC) Grain 5.26 %

30.00 gm East Kent Goldings [4.80 %] (60 min) Hops 14.9 IBU
5.00 gm Chinook [11.40 %] (60 min) Hops 5.9 IBU
10.00 gm Cascade [5.00 %] (20 min) Hops 2.8 IBU
10.00 gm Chinook [11.40 %] (20 min) Hops 7.1 IBU
15.00 gm Cascade [5.00 %] (10 min) Hops 2.5 IBU
15.00 gm Chinook [11.40 %] (10 min) Hops 6.4 IBU
25.00 gm Cascade [5.00 %] (5 min) Hops 2.3 IBU
25.00 gm Chinook [11.40 %] (5 min) Hops 5.9 IBU
20.00 gm Cascade [5.00 %] (Dry Hop 5 days) Hops -
20.00 gm Chinook [11.40 %] (Dry Hop 5 days) Hops -

1.00 tsp Gypsum (Calcium Sulfate) (Mash 60.0 min) Misc
1.00 tsp Koppafloc (Boil 10.0 min) Misc
11.00 gm PH 5.2 Stabilizer (Mash 60.0 min) Misc
1 Pkgs American Ale (Wyeast Labs #1056) Yeast-Ale


Mash Schedule: Single Infusion, Light Body
Total Grain Weight: 5.70 kg
----------------------------
Single Infusion, Light Body
Step Time Name Description Step Temp
60 min Mash In Add 32.00 L of water at 67.9 C 65.0 C
10 min Mash Out Heat to 75.6 C over 2 min 75.6 C

Notes:
------
NC Cube adjustments - minus 15 mins from all additions
10 min and 5 min done as french press into fermenter at pitching
 

rob.n.hill@gmail.com

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This has turned out great BTW, although after 2 weeks it's still a bit under carbonated. I should wait another week but it's too good - can't stop drinking it :)
 

argon

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Nice one... Get back in there and do it all again. :icon_cheers:
 

rob.n.hill@gmail.com

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Nice one... Get back in there and do it all again. :icon_cheers:

Well, it's funny you should say that - I did it again on Saturday (I bought enough ingredients for two batches the first time)

Here's my notes:

Brew #3
Little creatures pale ale
Sat 24/3/12

Same recipe as Brew #2, except this time (with the help of the new burner) I managed to do a mash-out quite easily, maintain a rolling boil without any trouble etc... I did all of this outside until it was time to chill the wort.

Overall I had no issues, with the exception of a slight logical problem of where to put my sparge water (after heating to the right temp in the pot) when I needed the pot to do the mash-out. Decided to put it in the lauter bucket (with the lid on to keep it hot) which worked fine. Then I could transfer the mash from the mash tun back to the pot, heat to the right temp, rest for the 10 mins and then transfer it back to the... uh-oh, the lauter has the sparge water in it. Ok, I'll transfer this to the mash tun (after giving it a quick rinse). Now I can transfer the mash into the lauter, and sparge from the mash tun - this worked out very well, with the mash tun keeping the sparge water at the right temp.

So the only issue with this setup I think is having to transfer lots of hot liquids around at various stages. This increases the potential for hot-side aeration, but that's just a myth, right? I tried to minimise splashing anyway, just to be on the safe side.

On the above, I also attached the siphon tube to the lauter tap while sparging to reduce aeration there too.

The rest of the process I did inside, chilling the wort from the kitchen sink. Got it down to about 34C:

Into fermenter
1.057 @34C (1.062 after correction)
19.3L

Topped up to 23L
Final OG 1.052
Expected ABV 5.8% (if we get down to 1.008)

Pitched at 28C
I set up the fan, t-shirt and water in the tub to cool it down and the next morning the temp read 14-15C!!! Too cool - and this explained the not-so-stellar bubbling (although there was some).
I turned off the fan and removed the shirt (left it in the tub for stablisation) and the temp started to come back up during the day.
Up to 18C the next day, bubbling more.

Monday:
Much more vigorous fermentation - krausen coming out of the airlock, all the headspace filled up. Smells fantastic.
Temp is at 19-20C (which is optimal for this particular yeast)

Pictures:

The new boil setup -
Boil.jpg

Fermenting -
Fermenter.jpg
 

Trippers

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Awesome. Just wondering if it was a typo about your sparge temp. It should be between 76-78 and you noted 62 degrees. Also be mindful of pitching yeast at 28 degrees. Just a couple of tweaks that could improve your brew even more. Keep up the great work. If you can leave the bottles for a month or so theyll be even better.
Cheers
 

rob.n.hill@gmail.com

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Awesome. Just wondering if it was a typo about your sparge temp. It should be between 76-78 and you noted 62 degrees. Also be mindful of pitching yeast at 28 degrees. Just a couple of tweaks that could improve your brew even more. Keep up the great work. If you can leave the bottles for a month or so theyll be even better.
Cheers
Actually, I don't think it's a typo - at the time I was under the impression that that temperature would be ok, and more specifically that it shouldn't be above 78C (at which point tannins etc...). For the second batch the temp was closer to 75, although again I didn't pay very close attention - I will do so in future.

You're right about the pitching temp - it's mostly impatience on my part. I don't want to feck around with ice, and the (cold tap) water temp isn't cool enough to get the wort down much past 30C.

What about leaving it all in the fermenter until the next morning? I guess there's a higher risk of infection doing this.

What do you guys do?
 

sim

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Could you pre chill some of your chilling water? even 10 litres will make a difference right at the end of your chilling regime.
 

rob.n.hill@gmail.com

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Could you pre chill some of your chilling water? even 10 litres will make a difference right at the end of your chilling regime.
I'm using a homemade chilling coil that's hooked up to the kitchen sink tap - works quite well for the most part. So I'd have to combine this with a tub of chilled water - that should work.

At first I thought that you meant pre chill some of my top-up water - which should also work quite well - a couple litres of sub-10c water should knock the overall temp down a few degrees. A couple of trays of ice (made with our own tapwater - not purchased) might also help this along.

Your comment made me think though - I do have a garden pump sitting around, and lots of hose, and a swimming pool........ What if I use the pool as a massive heat exchanger? I'll need another copper coil at the other end (submerged in the pool), and just pump continuously through the closed system (which is a point - I'll have to 'prime' the system first).

Or am I just getting silly now? I wonder what temperature my pool is........ :blink:
 

Lord Raja Goomba I

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62 degrees for sparge is way too low.

The idea of sparging is to wash out the stubborn sugars imbedded in the grain after first wort runnings. Having that at a higher temp means that it's more likely to do so, as the sugars that may not have come out at mash temp, are more likely to dislodge at the higher temp.

Don't forget also that 78 degrees (for tannins) means your Grain Bed temp, not the water temp of the sparge water. Get beermate, you'll see what I mean.

For my batch last night, it calculated that for a 75 degree sparge, my sparge waters needed to be at 84 degrees (IIRC).

I've used beer mate calcs for every sparge, and I've not had the dreaded tannins.

As for pitching - given my fermentation freezer will kill the last 10 degrees or so, I'll generally pitch at 25-30 degrees, with my temp controller dialled in at the right temp for the yeast. It'll kick off quickly, but will come down quick enough to avoid ethanol-flavoured beer.

Then after primary, raise to 22 degrees for a Diacetyl rest to clean up the initial byproducts from the 25-30 degree pitch, for 2-4 days, then cold crash.

Goomba
 

jameson

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I have a load of drink bottles with the top cone cut of that I fill with water and freeze then chuk them straight in to the bucket. I did use a hammer and knock the ice out the neighbors don't like that much at midnight. Nice work.
 

rob.n.hill@gmail.com

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Don't forget also that 78 degrees (for tannins) means your Grain Bed temp, not the water temp of the sparge water. Get beermate, you'll see what I mean.
Thanks Goomba, I will go grab beermate now.

You're right - my sparge temp is way too low - what would the actual result of this be? My OG and final ABV were pretty close to the recipe if I recall, although I haven't yet bothered to figure out my efficiency. Or would it be a flavour thing?


As for pitching - given my fermentation freezer will kill the last 10 degrees or so, I'll generally pitch at 25-30 degrees, with my temp controller dialled in at the right temp for the yeast. It'll kick off quickly, but will come down quick enough to avoid ethanol-flavoured beer.
Yup - I think my next investment (even before kegging) will be a temp-controlled chest freezer (ebay is my friend).

Do you set your freezer at a lower temp to do the final chilling and then raise the temp to the right range for the yeast?

Thanks!!
 

rob.n.hill@gmail.com

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I have a load of drink bottles with the top cone cut of that I fill with water and freeze then chuk them straight in to the bucket. I did use a hammer and knock the ice out the neighbors don't like that much at midnight. Nice work.
Nice one!

What about freezing water in drink bottles (lid on, with headspace to account for the expansion), and adding these to the fermenter before pitching? (sanitising them first though).

I think I like this idea, seems simple and elegant, minimum effort, no mess.

:beerbang:
 

jameson

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Nice one!

What about freezing water in drink bottles (lid on, with headspace to account for the expansion), and adding these to the fermenter before pitching? (sanitising them first though).

I think I like this idea, seems simple and elegant, minimum effort, no mess.

:beerbang:
No no I add them to my copper chiller water. After it has been running a while.
 

Lord Raja Goomba I

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Thanks Goomba, I will go grab beermate now.

You're right - my sparge temp is way too low - what would the actual result of this be? My OG and final ABV were pretty close to the recipe if I recall, although I haven't yet bothered to figure out my efficiency. Or would it be a flavour thing?




Yup - I think my next investment (even before kegging) will be a temp-controlled chest freezer (ebay is my friend).

Do you set your freezer at a lower temp to do the final chilling and then raise the temp to the right range for the yeast?

Thanks!!
Ebay is your friend. My ferm freezer ws $30 on ebay.

Set the temp to the right range for the yeast. What happens is the temp probe (strapped to the side of the fermenter with insulation on the outer side) takes the fermenter temp, when the fermenter (i.e the wort) is at a higher temp than the set temp, the temp controller switches the freezer on, until the fermenter (i.e. the wort) is down to temp, then turns itself off.

It'll then continue to turn on/off to maintain the right temp, as it lowers (and the wort/ambient temp raises) the fermenter's temp.

Goomba
 

1974Alby

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Could you pre chill some of your chilling water? even 10 litres will make a difference right at the end of your chilling regime.

what about cooling the 19.3 L at 1.062 down to 30 ish and then topping up to 23L with pre chilled water, or ice made from boiled water?
 

sim

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what about cooling the 19.3 L at 1.062 down to 30 ish and then topping up to 23L with pre chilled water, or ice made from boiled water?
I'd say that would work well. I tend to avoid the "condensed volume then topping up" scenario if possible. Makes for more cleaning/sanitation work, and i believe theres something to be said for ending up with less protiens for the finished volume as only so many can stay in a solution and the excess precipitate out.

i'd be making use of that swimming pool Endisnigh!
 

argon

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i'd be making use of that swimming pool Endisnigh!
Yeah I concur... no waste chilling water. Just recirc back into the pool. Guilt free chilling. That's what I'd do if I had a pool.
 

jkmeldrum

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Before I got my plate chiller setup I would have to chill with ice a bit. 1L milk cartons can be a great friend! Rinse the cartons well as you use them and then boil and coil 10+ litres of filtered water prior to brew day and then sterilise the cartons prior to filling and freezing. You can smash them on the ground easily to make crushed ice or bash on the edge with a hammer. Excellent way to cool down the last bit of the brew and you can relax that the ice is nice and clean and not full of nasties.

Sounds like your first AG brew day was better than mine. I left one of my valves open after all the hard work was done and lost half down the drain!

Keep up the good work.....it's contageous
 

Deebo

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Was thinking about freezing a few 2L juice containers of water then chucking them in a spare fermenter with some water and trying to use a pump connected to Immersion chiller to cool down the last few degrees.

Any idea if the the juice container would cool the water enough? (I spose i could just cut open the container.. but I dont drink enough juice to have a steady supply)
 

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